What You Need To Do With An Aging EMS Fleet

Are you in charge of an EMS fleet? Whether it’s because of stagnant Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, increased healthcare costs, or something else, have you put on hold the replacement of your EMS vehicles? It can, after all, be expensive to not only purchase empty units but customize them for use in the EMS industry. But maintenance considerations will eventually have an impact on your decision as to whether or not to keep old vehicles.

When is it fiscally unwise to repeatedly maintain an aging EMS vehicle? For many EMS agencies, it has become an everyday event to stretch their fleet unit’s lifecycles.

Vehicle Failure

In the long run, vehicles fail for two basic reasons:

  • Corrosion
  • Fatigue

Eventually, parts on a vehicle are no longer able to perform their intended purpose due to general wear and tear. This is fatigue. Whereas wear bars on tires are one indication of the heads-up some parts give you as they wear out, such indicators are not present on many costly EMS vehicle items. You don’t know there’s a problem until such parts fail.

Corrosion, particularly in certain parts of the nation, is another major cause for failure. Aluminum oxidizes and steel rusts. Rather than trying to catch and stop already-started corrosion, to keep your vehicle viable longer, at the beginning of the vehicle’s expected lifestyle, fight corrosion right off the bat with today’s advanced coatings.

Preventative Maintenance Schedule

To get the longest lifespan possible out of each unit, preventative maintenance is – or should be – an obvious necessity. Costly breakdowns can be prevented, to a degree, with the proper preventative maintenance program. Two useful tools are preventative maintenance checklists and driver pre-shift inspections. To help decide when vehicle replacement is necessary, also consider analyzing, for each vehicle, the cost per mile.

The less time that exists between preventative maintenance inspections, the less likely your vehicles are to experience devastating breakdowns. Keep your mechanics abreast of an appropriate plan. Ask for their input when devising that plan.

To make sure, at various levels that all critical parts are checked, put together a written guide. As part of your maintenance program, on a regular basis, have every vehicle’s fluids and oil tested. This will provide information – particularly in the power unit – of internal wear-and-tear.

Maintenance plans should also include a check for signs of corrosion, in addition to fluid leakage.


For all completed maintenance and vehicle issues, a central place for documentation – a database – should be one aspect of your preventative maintenance program. This should be done electronically, in today’s time, whether Google docs (or another type of homegrown program) or a formal web-based preventative maintenance program is being used.

A documentation trail should be created. It should be easily followed by all involved. To enter pertinent information, either mechanics or individuals on the operations side should be capable.

Count on Mickey Genuine Parts for Maintenance

Mickey Genuine Parts has conveniently located service centers throughout the United States. For preventative maintenance, we can help you set up a schedule and execute that schedule expertly. Contact us to find out what else Mickey can do for you, today.

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